This article was posted on Tuesday, Jun 01, 2021


Many landlords are faced with staggering losses of rent due to the pandemic. My clients have indicated that many of their tenants owe in excess of $20,000. Under a newly enacted statute, SB 91, landlords and tenants are allowed to apply for rental assistance due to the pandemic. The website is:   

Many landlords have been reluctant to apply for this relief.   

Under this statute, landlords can receive 80% of the rent owed for the period of April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. Landlords must be willing to forgive the remaining 20% of the rent and they cannot attempt to collect it or use this as the basis of an unlawful detainer action.    

To qualify, tenants must make less than 80% of the median income for the county in which they reside. One person in the tenant’s household must have lost a job or income, due to the pandemic. They must also show a risk of homelessness, due to the failure to pay rent. Once the landlord applies for this relief, an invitation will be sent to the tenant. The tenant must jointly apply with the landlord. If the tenant does not apply, rent relief will not be given. If the tenant applies and the landlord chooses not to, the tenant will be able to receive 25% of the rent owed.   

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While this is just another governmental program likely to bankrupt our nation, my belief is that 85% of the rental debt will never be collected. Landlords are facing monumental losses due to our politicians deciding that the financial burdens facing tenants should be placed on the shoulders of landlords. With that in mind, if you can apply for this relief, I would definitely take advantage of the program.    


Many landlords believe that rent increases have been suspended during the pandemic. This is not the case. Unless your property is subject to a local rent control statute, rent increases can be given at this time. If your property is a single-family residence, townhouse, or condominium a rent increase can be served without limitation. If you are increasing the rent by over 10%, a 90-day notice of increase would be required. If 10% or less, a 30-day notice would be required.  

If your property is subject to Statewide Rent Control, AB 1482, you can also immediately raise the rent. The rent increase that is permitted is 5% plus the CPI as published for your region as of April 2021.    

Even if your tenant is withholding rent due to COVID-19, a rent increase should still be given to assure that your rent is set to market level.   


Dennis Block, of Dennis P. Block & Associates can be reached for information on landlord/tenant law or evictions at any of the following offices:  Los Angeles: 323.938.2868, Encino: 818.986.3147, Inglewood: 310.673.2996, Long Beach:  310.434.5000, Ventura: 805.653.7264, Pasadena: 626.798.1014, Orange: 714.634.8232, San Diego: 619.481.5423 or by visiting Now, you can also read Dennis Block on Twitter, or text him at (818) 570-1557.  “Landlord Tenant Radio Weekly Podcasts can be heard at any time at or download the app “EVICT123”.